A Speech Is About The Writing, Then Delivery

It is possible that someone in the history of civilization has delivered a world-changing speech without any preparation, but any fundraiser looking for such a miracle will probably be hugely disappointed.

During a recent nonprofit conference in Boston, Sherri Saginor, president of Smart Speech, emphasized that a well-delivered speech begins long before the speaking part; that is, with the writing. Further, Saginor stressed the following points for speech writers:

* The importance of audience.

Know the audience. The goal is connect with the audience in some way. Who are they? Why are they there? What do they want? Understand, Connect, Resonate.

* Write for the ear. Speeches are meant to be heard. Hearing is not the same as reading. Use plain, conversational language.

* Avoid common pitfalls. Jargon, statistics, acronyms.

* What’s the point?

* What line does everyone remember? The main point is the main message of any speech, the most memorable part, the anchor, the cornerstone.

* Speech structure. Structure the speech around one main point. (The shorter the better.)

One possible structure: 1-3-1.It’s one opening, three subtopics to support the main point and one closing that reiterates the main point. The beginning introduces the main point. The middle is part of or supports the main point. The ending comes on time, is done with conviction and reiterates the main point.

* Transitions. These guide the audience from one section to the next.